This weekend, GCK Motorsport secured its place in the history of motor sport by becoming the first team to enter a car retrofitted with an electric motor for a race counting for a world championship! It was a very promising debut as much in terms of the times set on the track as by the enthusiasm generated off it!
Just a few months ago who would have believed that we would see the glorious Lancia Delta Integrale racing in an official championship? Nobody, as this car, invincible at the juncture of the 1980s-1990s, had not been a competitive proposition for a long time, and had even lost its homologation to race in the WRC at the end of the year 2000. And yet… The climate crisis has recently led to the emergence of ideas which nobody had thought about before, such as giving a second life to racing icons by replacing their internal combustion engines with more virtuous electric motors! This works perfectly on the roads as proved by Guerlain Chicherit and GCK, so why not give it a go in racing? They won their bet this weekend!
In fact, the base of the car entered by GCK Motorsport is an authentic Lancia Delta Integrale shell, the type of second-hand carcass that can be found on classified ad sites. The rest is the work carried out by GCK Performance. An ingenious design job and more than 1,200 hours of fabrication produced a sublime result. A masterpiece of a car with meticulous attention paid to every detail unanimously acclaimed by fans and journalists alike on its first public appearance this weekend at the Nürburgring in Germany, the theatre of the final round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Some observers present in Germany said it looked like a Group B with its enlarged wings and enormous rear wing. All that remained was the unforgiving verdict of the stopwatch, the only yardstick that decides between a real and a false good idea!
The first practice session concluded with a promising sixth-quickest time and above all its driver, Guerlain Chicherit, experienced excellent feelings behind the wheel as proved by his smile as he entered the pit lane, which left no doubt that he had a car between his hands that was quick out of the box. The opening heat confirmed the first impressions. He seemed to have second place sewn up as he tackled the penultimate lap when his race ended brutally with a 16 G impact against a wall into which he had been punted by a rival, guilty of a manoeuvre that was risky to say the least! His day was over.
On Sunday morning, the team had every reason to be pleased as they’d managed to get the car back on its four wheels to the delight of the assembled spectators. The day’s two races were transformed into a full-blown test session for the whole team who had come to Germany above all to gather experience with the car in real conditions.
One thing is certain. We haven’t heard the last of the Lancia Delta Evo-e RX and its driver, Guerlain Chicherit. And very soon concerning the latter as in a few weeks time he will be at the start of the Dakar Rally driving a Prodrive Hunter in the GCK Motorsport colours.
Guerlain Chicherit, driver: "I’d really like to congratulate my team who’ve worked all day and all night over the last few weeks to get this car ready in time. It’s a magnificent machine. Never in my 20-year career had I been so impatient to get behind the wheel. The overall conclusions are extremely satisfactory as we were able to match the speed of our rivals who’ve already raced in nine races with these new-generation electric cars. Now we’re going to take advantage of the winter break to analyse all the data gathered this weekend and add all the necessary modifications. Next year we’ll be back with two cars, I hope!"